THE BULAWAYO Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) has urged the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) to reject the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) proposal to increase tariffs by 5%.
ZETDC formally applied for a tariff increase to Zera in line with the Electricity Act citing that there has only been one significant tariff increase since dollarisation in 2009 while the current tariffs had become untenable for its operations.
BPRA advocacy and programmes manager Emmanuel Ndlovu said a tariff increase of 5% is a self-centred proposal especially considering the current economic situation prevailing in the country.
“Tariff increase of 5% is tantamount to holding electricity consumers at ransom in light of the country’s economy which is characterised by high unemployment and poor remuneration of civil servants,” he said.
“It make no sense that the tariffs be increased by 5% when generally salaries have remained static while inflation is only at 4, 6%,” he said.
Ndlovu said most people would not be able to cope with a tariff increase as they are constrained by a harsh economic environment.
Ndlovu said an electricity tariff increase is imprudent as it would lead to magnification of inequalities since many areas now utilise prepaid meters.
“The rich will be able to use as much electricity as they want while the poor will be subjected to long periods without electricity,” he said.
Ndlovu said the power utility must speed up the process of installing prepaid meters as use of the technology could help the parastatal increase its revenue flows thus minimising its monetary challenges.